I recently traveled to Ireland and Northern Ireland to see exactly where I come from. I ended up in the little coastal town in Northern Ireland called Annalong located an hour north of Dublin, right at the base of the Mourne Mountains.
I walked the shores of the Irish Sea on a gravel-like sand, visited the church where my great-grandfather worshipped, and hiked The Kingdom of Mourne, a place my cousin described as the ‘Center of the Universe’. Here you can see the mountains, the sea, and the green earth all in one glance. Incredible.
The island of Ireland is quickly becoming one of the world’s most popular tourist destinations and for good reason. It is filled with friendly people, beautiful scenery, and good food (yes, I mean it). And with over 40 million American’s identifying to be from Irish decent, there is a lot of ancestry for us to trace and explore.
Getting there is easier than ever. Aer Lingus is now flying non-stop legs to Dublin from Boston, Chicago, New York, Orlando and San Francisco.
How hard could it be to drive on the other side of the road you ask? Ask the hundreds of Americans that crash their rental cars on the first roundabout leaving Dublin Airport. The street looks like glitter from all the broken side-view mirrors. Hire a private driver, take part in a group tour for at least part of your journey, or take the train.
I highly recommend using Irish Rail to go between the cities. Fares are inexpensive and many trains follow the coastline allowing you to see beautiful scenery to while you travel. My fare from Dublin to Newry (near Annalong) was about €35 round-trip.
If you are a golfer, you won’t want to miss playing at one of the world’s greatest courses including Ballybunion and Lahinch. Or if you are just a fan, watch golf at the Irish Open played this year at Fota Island in Cork and in 2015 at Royal County Down (the course Rory McIlroy grew up playing). One day tickets start at €25.00.
Extend your stay a little longer and experience the pride of Ireland at an Irish Rugby match – it is the country’s official sport! Sports Traveler and our leisure travel division Beverly Travel Company are now booking to Ireland so give us a call and let us help you plan your trip to my homeland. I’ll be blogging more about my journeys to many legendary Irish golf courses soon!